Lost and Founded Series - CRIB Special: Marilyn Lum

Marilyn Lum, co-founder of CRIB, has a great sense of humour, but would prefer if you didn’t know about it.


Author: DBS BusinessClass, Administrator of DBS

Risk-taker Marilyn Lum has a great sense of humour, but would prefer if you didn’t know about it. In 2014, following years of experience in the tourism and hospitality industry, the Director of Lum Wen Kay Holdings co-founded CRIB (Creating Responsible & Innovative Businesses) alongside Elaine Kim, Tjin Lee and Mei Chee. A social enterprise which aims to empower women from all walks of life to become successful entrepreneurs through networking, matchmaking and business incubation, CRIB also envisions a society where women - and mothers in particular - are able to achieve work-life balance and have a fulfilling career while making family a priority.

The academically astute Marilyn, who is currently pursuing her doctorate and lectures in hospitality management institutes, hopes to nurture a new wave of strong, independent women who are confident, driven and compassionate towards others. Prone to the unusual tendency of crying during her successes rather than her failures, Marilyn exhorts everyone to get their finances in order before embarking on any new business venture and, not surprisingly, fulfills the role of the ‘Business Manager’ within the league of CRIB’s four enigmatic founders.

People say you are "Marilyn Lum, director of Lum Wen Kay Holdings". Who do you say you are?

I am Marilyn Lum the risk taker.

How did the four of you meet? Tell us your side of the story!

For Tjin and I, we met through our husbands who play golf together. I recall meeting Tjin for coffee one day and she was telling me about the idea of CRIB and how it would help women in Singapore who aspire for a better work-life balance. I felt inspired by the idea and wanted to be a part of it.

How do you think the four of you complement one another? 

The four of us work well together as a team. Given our different backgrounds and work experiences, we communicate well with each other and I think that is the key that helps us combine all our different strengths towards achieving our goals.

What was the best moment in your startup life? It was so good you wanted to fly BusinessClass somewhere with someone, and pop open the most expensive bottle of champagne there.

Watching CRIB get on its feet and becoming what we envisioned it to be - a platform to help women achieve a better work life balance.

Have you ever cried? Or what was the lowest, crappiest moment in your start-up life? You wanted to give up everything. You wanted to kill someone. (During your startup career of course) Tell us more! 

If I were to cry, it would be during my successes not my failures.

What secret did you hide from your co-founder or partner or parent for the longest time? Why? 

My sense of humour.

What are you up to today? What gets you up in the morning? 

Research prospectus and proposals for my doctoral studies. I will be flying up to Minnesota for my residency.


How do you keep yourself physically and mentally fit for start-up life?

A healthy diet, exercise and discipline.

Offer a life hack (or two) to a young founder.

Get your financial house in order. If you can't manage your personal finances, don't expect to manage a successful business.

Favourite quote.

"Know the enemy and know yourself; in a hundred battles you will never be in peril" - Sun Tzu

Who and what inspires you?

My Father inspires me. His confidence in making decisions, his drive to succeed and his compassion for his fellow man.

Tell me about yourself in 2030. 

I hope to start a family and also complete my doctorate studies.

I hope that through CRIB, we would have nurtured strong independent women entrepreneurs with successful businesses.

What is the one biggest barrier in empowering female entrepreneurship in Singapore?


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